The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien

Where can I learn to speak Elvish, or find an Elvish dictionary?

An article from the Encyclopedia of Arda FAQ

"Ai! laurië lantar lassi súrinen,
Yéni únótimë ve rámar aldaron!
Yéni ve lintë yuldar avánier
mi oromardi lisse-miruvóreva
Andúnë pella, Vardo tellumar
nu luini yassen tintilar i eleni
ómaryo airetári-lírinen."
Part of Galadriel's lament for lost Valimar, in Quenya, from The Fellowship of the Ring II 8, Farewell to Lórien

It seems that the arrival of the movies has kindled a great deal of interest in Tolkien's Elvish languages, and we get a lot of mail asking where to start with learning them. The starting point for most people is probably Christopher Tolkien's Appendix to The Silmarillion, where he lists some of the basic Elvish root-words that are used in the names of characters and places. The other major linguistic source in Tolkien's own work is a document entitled The Etymologies, published in volume V of The History of Middle-earth (The Lost Road).

Linguists have been hard at work for many years working out the details of the Elvish languages, and a great deal of information is to be found on the Web. There are plenty of sites dedicated to Tolkien's languages, but special mention should be made of Ardalambion, which is probably one of the most extensive linguistic sources on the Web, and provides a downloadable course in Quenya, the High-elven tongue. This is by no means the only site on the Web dedicated to Tolkien's languages, of course - the following in particular are also well worth a visit:

The Council of Elrond: Languages of Middle-earth
The Elvish Linguistic Fellowship
Fellowship of the Wordsmiths
Mellonath Daeron

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